When the Wyong Roos and Penrith Panthers clash in tomorrow’s Intrust Super Premiership NSW Grand Final, it might just be the youngest players who are among the most experienced.
In a rare situation for any Rugby League team, tomorrow night’s clash will not be the first time many of the emerging crop have faced off with each other. In fact, such has been the class of the Roosters’ and Panthers’ young brigades, it will be the third time in four seasons some of the players have battled it out for a premiership.
It started with the 2014 SG Ball Grand Final – a match which the Roosters’ under-18s won 34-30 at Leichhardt Oval. In 2015, the Panthers took out the Holden Cup title, before meeting the Roosters again in the under-20s decider in 2016. That match saw the Roosters came out on top, winning 30-28 in a come-from-behind thriller.
On that occasion, winger Johnny Tuivasa-Sheck was the man to seal the premiership with a long-range try – and he’s excited about lining up against his grand-final rivals once again.
“Yeah definitely, (aiming to) get the three and 0 with them,” Tuivasa-Sheck tells NSWRL.com.au. “We had them in SG Ball, ’20s and took those two out, so hopefully we can get one more!
“There’s a few of us still here (from the junior sides) – there’s me, Paul Momirovski, Joey Manu, Poasa Faamausili – there’s a few of us here looking to get that three and 0.”
Tuivasa-Sheck’s left-edge combination with Manu is likely to be of high importance to the Roos’ chances tomorrow, with Manu bagging a double in last week’s four-point victory over the Warriors. The winger, however, says the team needs to go back to basics to deliver their best game of the season.
“I think it’s just sticking to the basics,” Tuivasa-Sheck says. “We’ve been really critical of the detailed things, so just sticking to what’s been working for us and having belief in that and staying true to how we play.”
A mix of young and old will be on show tomorrow night for the decider, to be broadcast live on Fox League from 6:45pm AEST.
The NSWRL senior competitions’ finals series, covered like never before on NSWRL.com.au and the NSWRL Facebook page, culminate on Grand Final Day at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday 24 September. Be there to witness history, with tickets just $10 for adults and children under 12 free.